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The Uglier Side of Cholesterol

January 29, 2013  by: DR.VNS  Points: 12   Category: Health  Earning $0.35   Views: 542

The cholesterol remnants obtained from triglyceride-rich lipoproteins can increase the risk for heart disease.

         

The function of the heart is to supply the blood to the various organs of the body. What about the heart? It also requires blood supply. This is achieved through the coronary arteries which arise from the aorta and go back to the heart. Coronary heart disease refers to the generation of conditions leading to the blocking of one or, more of the coronary arteries. When this happens, the blood supply to the heart is affected. This results in oxygen deficiency in the cardiac muscles which get damaged. This condition is called myocardial infarction which is felt as a heart attack. Cardiovascular disease is a major killer in several countries and is the number one cause of death in the US.

The Cholesterol Factor

Statistical evidence suggests that increased blood cholesterol levels represent a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Cholesterol, being a water-insoluble substance, cannot be transported in the free form in the circulation. Thus, cholesterol is transported in the circulation with the help of proteins called lipoproteins. More than one lipoprotein is involved in the transport of cholesterol. These cholesterol-carrying lipoproteins have different characteristics and functions.

Beneficial Cholesterol

The high-density lipoproteins are considered to ‘good’ or, beneficial. These lipoproteins carry cholesterol from the tissues to the liver where cholesterol is converted into less harmful products.

Dangerous Cholesterol

These lipoproteins have a ‘bad’ reputation as they increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. This theory is based on the function of LDL which is to carry cholesterol to the tissues including the arteries. However, merely measuring the blood LDL levels does not solve the problem. The particle size of LDL is equally important. The smaller-sized LDL particles are more dangerous.

Ugly Cholesterol Remnants


Chylomicrons and VLDL (very low-density lipoproteins) are are triglyceride-rich lipoproteins and during metabolism, yield cholesterol fragments known as remnants. Recent studies show that high blood levels of cholesterol remnants carry three times increased risk for coronary heart disease. Thus, high triglyceride levels are as dangerous as high cholesterol levels.




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